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Incredible Portrait of Ai Weiwei Made From 20,000 Sunflower Seeds

ai weiwei portrait sunflower seeds red hong yi

Artist Red Hong Yi is known for her work in unusual art mediums. Her latest work, 20,000 Seeds, is a giant portrait of famed political artist Ai Weiwei. And, as the title infers, it's made from 20,000 expertly placed sunflower seeds.

Based in China, Red is inspired by her surroundings—she constantly scours wholesale markets for everyday objects to inspire her. Whether it be tea bags, chopsticks, or socks, Red's use of these materials is an allusion to globalization and mass production found in China and Asia.

In the case of 20,000 Seeds the artist was inspired by Ai Weiwei's quote, “the seed is a household object but at the same time it is a revolutionary symbol.” The Chinese contemporary artist and activist has long been a symbol for challenging political systems. Thus, he was a natural fit as Red searched for a project to give her solace in this time of political oddity.

“In light of all the political absurdity going on in the world, I created this piece for my sanity,” she tells My Modern Met via email.This piece encourages people to have the bravery and courage to think and see clearly, and to protect freedom of expression.”

This Ai Weiwei portrait is made of 20,000 sunflower seeds!

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Take a look at how this subtle piece of political art was created.

Red Hong Yi: Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Red Hong Yi.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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